tools of the trade

When I first started on this writing adventure, I was a strict MS Word sort of girl. Then Google Drive (nee Docs) appeared on the scene. Of course, there was also paper and pen—mostly Moleskine pocket and large ruled notebooks, generally in the color that I most associated with a particular story. I still rely on these tools, but I’ve definitely upped my writing game as my process has evolved.

The new essentials:

  1. Evernote: I love using the Evernote webclipper to save bookmarks and research. I set up folders for Characters, Settings, Research, and more, and clip my findings. I also use it as a handy place to store “scanned” book pages and images. However, for my latest novel, I decided to draft only in Evernote, transferring finished chapters to Scrivener as I went along. This really worked out; it made it possible for me to draft from anywhere, at any time, without having to worry about backups and file conflicts. There is a bit of a learning curve to start… and you have to get creative with your use of folders, file names, and tags, but once you have a scheme, it’s as effective as Scrivener. (caveat, make sure files are fully synced before closing the program to avoid sync issues between machines)
  2. Scrivener: Writing on Word will never work after using Scrivener (at least, not for me). Scrivener houses all your files in a central location, making it incredibly easy to switch between chapters, notes, drafts, etc. Like Evernote, there is a learning curve, and lots of features to get used to, but the trial is worth it.
  3. myWriteClub: I need to track my progress. I use a calendar and stickers to good effect, but I also like the visual appeal of a progress bar. Scrivener has a built-in system to track progress as well, but I generally use an excel spreadsheet to track words written/rewritten or steps taken towards completion. MyWriteClub adds a little extra.
  4. Aeon Timeline: I literally just started using this and I love it already. Keeping track of time is one of my greatest challenges when working on a multiverse type novel (hello, Anúna), Aeon Timeline looks extremely promising as an outlining tool to take care of just that. I started playing with it yesterday (thanks to the NaNoWriMo winner discount) and look forward to using it during my next read-through.

What are your essential writing tools? Have any experiences to share?

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Author: gricel d.

writer. librarian. cat lady.

4 thoughts on “tools of the trade”

  1. I admit, I’m still an MS Word user, and if I’m plotting notes off the computer, it’s in Mead fivestar notebooks of various sizes or index cards or on a white board with the intention of eventually heading to index cards. I’ve tried a few other tools but I think I’ll probably stay old school with it, heh.

  2. Thanks for sharing what works for you. I need something that will help my kind of map things out. So far I have used word and cards and a big poster board with columns for characters and time on the “x” axis but this is very unwieldy. I need lots of colors. So, I’ll be checking into what you shared. So far I also write by hand (scribble really), then retype, set it aside, then scribble on it again. With different colored pens. Very inefficient really. Deb

    1. I tried the cards and poster board once and also found that it was too unwieldy, and I rarely referred to my notes after all the trouble to setting them up. Good luck!

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